The fast bowler had tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of India’s T20I series against Australia and was subsequently ruled out of the series. Umesh Yadav was called in the squad as Shami’s replacement. Moreover, Shami has also been ruled out of the South Africa T20Is.
Since July 2022, the 32-year-old has not been seen on the field. He hasn’t played a T20 International since November 2021. Nonetheless, his experience and performance in the IPL – 20 wickets in 16 matches for the champions Gujarat Titans – were viewed as valuable assets by the selectors, driving them to retain him on standby for the World Cup.
India will take on South Africa on September 28, October 2 and October 4 in India’s final T20Is before the World Cup next month. As such, they provided an opportunity for the team to assess Shami’s fitness following a two-month break from cricket.